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Did Microsoft Alter Windows Sales Figures?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the smoke-and-mirrors dept.

Microsoft 165

Saxophonist writes "InformationWeek claims to have analyzed Microsoft's most recent Form 10-Q and observed that a reported increase in earnings for the Windows unit may be due to accounting trickery rather than actual sales growth. Microsoft apparently increased its reported revenues for its Windows, Server & Tools, and Office units at least partly through shifting revenues from other units. While there may be nothing 'to suggest the company's revisions violate any accounting rules,' the actual growth in Windows sales was likely nowhere near the high double-digit percentage growth claimed. InformationWeek speculates that revenues from Xbox and Surface may have been among the revenues shifted to the other divisions."

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165 comments

Yes (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231218)

They're a Fortune 100 company. They did.

Re:Yes (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231250)

They're a Fortune 100 company. They did.

But Googles a Fortune 500 company and their motto is "do no evil" so they wouldn't lie.... oh wait their lying in their motto too.

Re:Yes (3, Funny)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231634)

there lying what?

Re:Yes (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233042)

Their: Denotes ownership
This is correct in the first sentence.

They're: "They Are"
This is what you should have used in the second sentence.

Re:Yes (4, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231502)

Well look at it this way - they aren't fudging their balance sheets as bad as the US Government

Re:Yes (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232524)

The US government is better than NY state government. NY state budgeted 12 million dollars over 3 years for a new type of drivers license. They received 3 million over 2+ years.

That is the real problem with government accounting. They don't know how much money they really are working with only what they think they might be estimating they have.

When those estimates are wildly off based off of bad methods of statistics deficits sore.

Re:Yes (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232970)

How is this different from corporate accounting? Most businesses budget for the long term based on projected earnings. If those earnings don't come through for whatever reason, they end up with budget deficits.

Common Practice (3, Informative)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232498)

They're a Fortune 100 company. They did.

Yes. Most companies have a growing, but money-losing "star", a flat but highly profitable "cash cow" and a few others that are in between. It is common practice to disguise the actual performance of those business units by creatively defining segments for external SEC reporting.

Re:Yes (3, Interesting)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233472)

Microsoft wants to make their company seem like it is more profitable so that their share values go up, shareholder confidence returns, and they give the people the impression that they are still on top making the best product. Apple's been killing them in the area of revenue yet Microsoft had been ahead in profit. Now Apple has that crown too--even with obvious overhead of paying for the bill of materials (BOM). Microsoft seems to have problems coming up with new ideas and technology. Everyone knows they are basically stuck with Windows and Office, and that that'll last only so long.

So, people distrust them and they have an issue with demonstrating they are still on top (which they are, just not the very top any longer). So, they cook the books to make it seem like they are doing better than they are with their new product.

Does anyone here have any knowledge of products that Microsoft is developing that will satisfy the masses addiction to technology? Don't say WinMo7 because that's pretty much going to flop in my opinion. Anything else? I don't think they can sustain following up on other's products. They need something new and unique to them. A new radical version of Windows isn't it either. They are basically loosing on the embedded front, they are loosing on the smart phone market, they are loosing the tablet wars (which I don't think they can bring themselves out of).

SOP? (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231236)

I thought pretty much every publicly traded company did stuff like this?

Re:SOP? (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231270)

Wasn't it called "Lies; Damn Lies; and Corporate Accounting"?

Accoutant Interview: (5, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231366)

A manager was interviewing accountants for a job. The first accountant came in and the boss asked, "What's 2+2?"

The first guy says, "4".

The mgr thanked him for his time and dismissed him because he was too honest. Then he called the second guy in. "What's 2+2?", he asked again.

"5" was the response.

He was thanked and rejected because he was incompetent, The manager then asked the third accountant in. "What's 2+2?"

The third accountant answered, "What do you want it to be?"

He was hired on the spot.

Re:Accoutant Interview: (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231874)

You are not quoting it right.

First of all, it is not an accountant interview, it is the interview for the Chief Economist of Romanian Socialist Republic.

Q: How much is 2+2.

A: That depends, if you have to give - 3, if you have to take - 5.

And he was not hired on the spot. The person to be hired was the nephew of Tovarish Cheushesku.

Re:Accoutant Interview: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232148)

Ah yes, because for every joke ever, there is only a single version, and whatever version you happen to know has to be the "original", right?

Besides, your version sucked.

Re:Accoutant Interview: (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232450)

Because you posted as a coward, you'll never hear me calling you a moron, but that is what you are. The post you are responding to is not a correction, but another joke altogether.

Re:Accoutant Interview: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232248)

his version was better though.

screw Tovarish Chejfdklajfkl

Re:Accoutant Interview: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233470)

different joke, and yours is far less funny

Re:SOP? (4, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231290)

I thought pretty much every publicly traded company did stuff like this?

Not just publically traded. I worked by a privatley owned company where basically each departments end of year bonus was decided by a bunfight to decide which department was responsible for how much revenue and at what cost. The only fixed thing was the company total, they shuffled things between departments and divisions at will.

Re:SOP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231512)

Those numbers may be for the bank's benefit (and thus the company's) if the bank likes to know 6-12 months in advance how you think you're going to be doing. WAG

Re:SOP? (4, Funny)

Black.Shuck (704538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231528)

decided by a bunfight

If only *all* things in life could be decided by a bunfight.

*sigh*

Re:SOP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232226)

decided by a bunfight

If only *all* things in life could be decided by a bunfight.

*sigh*

That didn't work out so well for Ernie, according to Benny Hill...

Re:SOP? (2, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232490)

It's rumoured that Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp was like that for years with a flow of money from one company to another to give the illusion that the entire thing was above water and that he could afford to buy things like Fox.

Re:SOP? (0, Offtopic)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231402)

Shhh.. everyday we must have a story about how Microsoft is such a FAILURE.

Re:SOP? (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231822)

Failure, my ass. Shooting yourself in the foot ON PURPOSE is not failure. They hit their taget, didn't they? That's not failure.

Re:SOP? (1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231598)

Yeah, but this is Microsoft, and this is /. So that makes anything they do automatically exceptionally bad.

For example, when Apple bundles its browser with its OS--that's just to benefit the consumer experience. When MS bundles its browser with its OS--that's evil, anti-competitive, and a criminal offense.

Re:SOP? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231712)

You have no idea what the antitrust suit was all about, do you? Here's a hint - Microsoft still bundles IE with Windows...

Re:SOP? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232296)

And OS X still comes bundled with Safari. I haven't tried this for a couple of years (at least), but last time I checked, deleting Safari caused a number of apparently unrelated things to break.

Of course, neither OS stops you using another browser as the default.

Re:SOP? (4, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231732)

Your example is actually correct. Microsoft as a monopoly is restricted in what they are allowed to do much more so than a smaller company like Apple. It might not always make sense, but abuse of monopoly power is a very serious offence.

These days it might sound funny to talk about Microsoft as a 900-pound gorilla, but at one time they definitely were.

Re:SOP? (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232570)

Dude, this isn't the 90's anymore, Apple is the monolopy, now.

Re:SOP? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232998)

In what do they have a monopoly? About the only think I can think of is in stand-alone MP3 players and even that is debatable.

Re:SOP? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233540)

They have a monopoly over their own products, duh!

(note: this is intended to be a joke, mods)

Re:SOP? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233524)

I don't remember where I read it, but some pundit blogger recently wrote something like, "Not too long ago, it would have been unimaginable that Apple would be the monopolist, Google the evil betrayer of privacy and Microsoft the underdog." I know I'm misquoting, but you get the gist. It's amazing how much things change in a relatively short amount of time.

Re:SOP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231796)

Try this. Delete Safari from your mac and never put it back. Use Firefox. Find anything not working?

The point was MS tied IE into Windows in a non-removable fashion. And then claimed it couldn't be removed.

the truth! (2, Funny)

cindyann (1916572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231280)

Since I'm a shareholder -- by virtue of mutual fund shares in my 401k and IRA accounts -- I want to know the truth.

Re:the truth! (2, Funny)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231350)

Yea well good luck with that

Re:the truth! (4, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231354)

But see, that's the beauty of corporate accounting. They never actually lie, it's all a matter of classifying revenue sources and sinks in brain-twisting ways that are technically accurate, even though from a bird's-eye view they give a completely mistaken impression of what's going on.

And this isn't consigned to Microsoft, like an above commenter said, every Fortune 500 company has done it to varying extents. It's difficult to make illegal, too, because there's no one technique used (seems to be as much an art as it is a science, finding loopholes that aren't closed); so it's impossible to write a law that's general enough to stop the practice yet still enforceable.

Re:the truth! (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231472)

Accountants are good at this. When I had a (small, privately owned) company, my accountant used to ask me "What number do you want it to be?"

Re:the truth! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231518)

There isn't anything particularly brain twisting here, and I'm not sure what mistaken impression the revisions discussed in the article are supposed to create (before the revisions, the quarterly net income for the entire company is $5.4 billion on revenues of $16.2 billion, after the revisions it is exactly the same, most businesses would kill to be that profitable, and they would kill their mothers to have the 'billion' in those numbers).

I suppose it could all be a giant ploy to grossly overstate the increases in Windows sales, but I'm not sure how interesting that is from the perspective of an investor (and the 10-k is certainly written with investors in mind).

Re:the truth! (4, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231660)

There isn't anything particularly brain twisting here, and I'm not sure what mistaken impression the revisions discussed in the article are supposed to create (before the revisions, the quarterly net income for the entire company is $5.4 billion on revenues of $16.2 billion, after the revisions it is exactly the same, most businesses would kill to be that profitable, and they would kill their mothers to have the 'billion' in those numbers).

Here's what you are missing: Everyone expects Microsoft to be highly profitable in their core business, and investors are used to the sad fact that Microsoft wastes a billion here and there on things like buying revenue for Ping. So if the losses in the online division grow, or XBox doesn't as well as expected, nobody cares much because the main business is safe as ever. All those losses in online can be stopped any second by just leaving that business area, if Microsoft wants, so it's nothing to worry about.

But if Microsoft makes less money in Windows, Office, or Server, or if it is found out that it props up its main business by moving money from other areas, that is a very, very bad sign and investors would be quite unhappy.

Re:the truth! (2, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231988)

It is a sad state of investing that investors like companies that are growing or expanding. In decades past, it was enough that a company was profitable and stable. But back then most companies offered dividends with shares. More companies are going away from dividends and thus there is not a lot of interest by investors to be concerned with stability. They want growth.

If MS cut all the unprofitable products, then that would show then as not growing or expanding in anything other than Office and Windows. Even though MS offers dividends, their stock price has been fairly stagnant in the past decade. That would drive more investors away.

Re:the truth! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232842)

Not really, but if Microsoft wants to keep investors around without growing, they need to pay a higher dividend. The only reason to invest in a company that doesn't grow is for dividends. Apple can get away with paying 0 dividends because it has massive growth. If they stop growing, it will be fine, but they'll need to start paying dividends, otherwise their stock is worthless.

Re:the truth! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232380)

The "propping up" being discussed here is ~10% of revenues. And they can't really do it with fake sales (so they really can't reclassify a bunch of new revenues each year, the smaller divisions are too small to keep doing that). And they revised the previous numbers when making the comparisons, so the actual growth reported in the new filings is the actual growth of the newly organized division, not a trick (and it is clear that Windows continues to have pretty huge sales numbers).

So are they messing around with their accounting? Sure. But the case for them doing it to mislead investors (rather than, say, for internal organizational purpose) is pretty thin.

Re:the truth! (0, Flamebait)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232568)

I'm sure their investors will be quite pleased to learn that M$ has been lying to them for years and years. In fact, I don't understand why M$ has any investors left period. Their stock hasn't done anything in the past 10 years, literally. They don't even pay a good dividend. Apple, Google, Oracle, etc.. all rising the past 10 years. I really can't imagine why any investor would stick with M$ when they could be making millions off other investments... M$ will never make a comeback. Never.

Re:the truth! (2, Interesting)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232666)

Here's what you are missing: Everyone expects Microsoft to be highly profitable in their core business, and investors are used to the sad fact that Microsoft wastes a billion here and there on things like buying revenue for Ping. So if the losses in the online division grow, or XBox doesn't as well as expected, nobody cares much because the main business is safe as ever. All those losses in online can be stopped any second by just leaving that business area, if Microsoft wants, so it's nothing to worry about. But if Microsoft makes less money in Windows, Office, or Server, or if it is found out that it props up its main business by moving money from other areas, that is a very, very bad sign and investors would be quite unhappy.

Hrm....maybe all those unprofitable divisions aren't so unprofitable after all?

Re:the truth! (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231534)

Interesting quote:

The spokesperson said some of the changes were the result of embedded systems products being moved from EDD to Server & Tools and Mac Office's move from EDD to the Business unit after Bach left.

For many years, Mac Office revenue was counted towards Entertainment and Device Division. I've always thought that was rather strange that it wasn't part of the Microsoft Business Division where it belonged. MS might have organized revenue based on the executive in charge which is normal. But also it could be that MS was trying to soften the massive losses of the Xbox first seven years.

Re:the truth! (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231776)

But see, that's the beauty of corporate accounting. They never actually lie,.

Enron was the master of it. Every company does it. Capitalists are out to kill capitalism. In my view, they will succeed.

Re:the truth! (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231876)

What Enron was doing was actually lying in the legal sense. Not quite the same thing.

Re:the truth! (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231478)

The Information Week story is quoting from an SEC filing that Microsoft made. A filing Microsoft knows is public. So Information Week didn't exactly bust anything open here, and you just have to decide if you care about Microsoft's results on a segment by segment basis, or if you are happy owning the company in general.

Re:the truth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231514)

it's from guys like you thay want to withold the truth from.

Re:the truth! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231570)

To misquote Jck Nicholson from A Few Good Men [wikipedia.org] , "You're a shareholder. You can't handle the truth!"

Re:the truth! (4, Funny)

rmcd (53236) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231684)

Obvious retort: You can't handle the truth.

This brilliant parody has been floating around for quite a while, author unknown (I found it at http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/fraudenron.htm )

        A take-off from the movies "A Few Good Men" (Some phrases are in the original script and some are altered.)

        Tom Cruise: "Did you order the shredding?"

        Jack Nicholson: "You want answers?"

        Tom Cruise: "I think I'm entitled."

        Jack Nicholson: "You want answers!!"

        Tom Cruise: "I want the truth!"

        Jack Nicholson: "You can't handle the truth!"

        Jack Nicholson: "Son, we live in a world that has financial statements. And those financial statements have to be audited by men with calculators. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Dept. of Justice? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Enron and you curse Andersen. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Enron's death, while tragic, probably saved investors. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves investors. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that audit. You need me on that audit! We use words like materiality, risk-based, special purpose entity...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent auditing something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very assurance I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a pencil and start ticking. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!!"

        Tom Cruise: "Did you order the shredding???"

        Jack Nicholson: "You're damn right I did!"

Funny, hell (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233394)

+Infinity Insightful.

Desperate CEO? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231294)

When a company suddenly starts moving the numbers around from one box to another, the question is always why? Could it be that the pressures from the BOD is getting tougher on people at the top?

Re:Desperate CEO? (3, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231394)

they have probably been doing this for years so I don't think it shows anything about the CEO's mental condition. If I recall correctly, one time they cut their R&D by 50%(something around $3billion) and amazingly almost every division turned in either a small profit or far less than the typical $250 million in losses they usually show. The following year they were all back to their usual hundreds of millions in losses.

I just don't think this is new for them, just easier to notice.

LoB

Re:Desperate CEO? (0)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231870)

does that mean Apple is going BK soon? they used to account for iphone sales over a 2 year period like the MS rent a software model. Last year they changed it where they recognize all iphone sales when the unit is sold. the fiscal year just finished for apple and of course sales and profit growth was amazing, but the stock has gone no where and they even warned about upcoming gross margins.

Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231302)

Not as hideously corrupt or confusing as you might imagine:

The spokesperson said some of the changes were the result of embedded systems products being moved from EDD to Server & Tools

Isn't it all basically shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic anyway?

Re:Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231336)

I'm hoping it's shuffling deck chairs on the Hindenberg - it will be more fun to watch.

Re:Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (4, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231376)

I think it's turning out more like shuffling governors in the Ottoman or British Empires. A slow, gradual, slightly-pathetic decline as one setback overshadows another.

Re:Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231608)

they're on the decline because they're posting record profits? they might have fudged the numbers as to which departments can take credit for what, but their overall profit is legit, and in the stratosphere.

Re:Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232448)

Other than windows and office, the rest of the company is about as profitable as any other stereotypical .com.

Moving embedded systems from one data table to another is irrelevant, its not like they'll ever make money.

Standard slashdot car analogy: doesn't matter if I categorize my latest car repair tools purchase under "hobby expense" or "automotive:maintenance" or "medical:mental health/stress reduction" its still crapping out the same amount of cash.

Re:Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (2, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233566)

Something about this imagery makes me LOL. Of course, I think of an ottoman going with my couch, not with a deck chair.

Re:Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232548)

umm.. I doubt that Hindenburg had deck chairs.
It's shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Thank you from the literal net.

Re:Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232886)

I am quite sure Hindenburg had deck chairs. She had decks. She had chairs, and unless they were also inflated with hydrogen or bolted to walls they were clearly resting on the decks.

Deck chairs. QED.

"You're welcome" from the hyper-literal net.

Company released sales figures (3, Insightful)

falldeaf (968657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231304)

I always mentally put these parts of the slashdot poll disclaimer in front of sales figures released by *any* company: "This whole thing is wildly innacurate ... If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane."

Re:Company released sales figures (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231356)

maybe, but how many companies have "Cowboy Neil" in their sales figures?

Re:Company released sales figures (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231456)

Except of course that people are using these numbers to do something important.

And this isn't just an idle problem: There have been colleges, pension funds, charitable foundations, and retirees crippled financially for decades because they looked at companies like Enron which were generating good consistent returns and decided that it was a good investment. This stuff does real damage to people, and the SEC simply doesn't have the resources to stop it.

oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231814)

the SEC simply doesn't have the desire to stop it.

There fixed that for ya.

Re:Company released sales figures (2, Insightful)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232814)

And when the company does finally collapse, the people who were responsible for the creative accounting are long gone doing the same thing to another company.

I tend to believe in the power of capitalism. But what I've seen lately is not just capitalism...it's pure greed. It's an economy run by narcissists who care of nothing else but their own personal pocketbooks. The company, the workers, the investors....it means nothing to them other than a means to an end. And we worship these people. And on the flip side, the people who actually produce the wealth in this country get castigated for being greedy because they want above-poverty-level wages.

Re:Company released sales figures (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233056)

These charitable trusts and funds would be just as hurt from investors panicking because what are actually pretty good figures for a company are buried by "FLAGSHIP PRODUCT MAKES MASSIVE LOSS. IS GLOBOCOM DOOMED?" headlines.

Who Cares... (1)

thewebsiteisdown (1397957) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231378)

Seriously? Unless Microsoft is cooking the books, who gives a rats ass how they account for the gajillion dollar revenue. If this is how FOSS scores points, by proclaiming "Ah HA!!!, they tried to trick us! The only sold 40 Million licenses of whatever, not 60 Million!. We... ummm, win?" This article is douchebaggery.

Is any huge corporation completely honest? (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231400)

Actual sales versus paper sales...Microsoft is a huge profitable corporation so WHO CARES?

Is CmdrTaco a Pedophile? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231404)

Am I the only person who hates these allegation-disguised-as-a-question headlines? Please can we stop posting them? If you're going to make an allegation, make an allegation, don't try to pretend that you're asking the audience for their opinions. If you can't back them up, don't make the allegations, and if you can then don't hide behind weasel words in the headline.

Re:Is CmdrTaco a Pedophile? (3, Insightful)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231448)

The story headline was "Exclusive: Microsoft Altered Windows Sales Numbers". I take the slashdot headline as questioning whether the story is completely accurate. Your beef appears to be with the story headline.

Re:Is CmdrTaco a Pedophile? (1)

thewebsiteisdown (1397957) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231464)

I second that. For fucks sake, the is /., do we need another excuse to tsk-tsk Microsoft? Now we know the truth of the thing, the closely guarded secret that they would have killed to protect.... the fact their accountants are bad people too! Intrigue! Drama! Petty! Self Serving!

You're kidding, right? (0, Troll)

Petersko (564140) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231494)

"Am I the only person who hates these allegation-disguised-as-a-question headlines? Please can we stop posting them? If you're going to make an allegation, make an allegation, don't try to pretend that you're asking the audience for their opinions. If you can't back them up, don't make the allegations, and if you can then don't hide behind weasel words in the headline."

Might as well ask a duck not to quack, or a horse not to trot. If you removed all of the "have you stopped beating your wife" questions, you'd kill the essence of slashdot. I, for one, embrace the ridiculous, blind antagonism and shortsightedness. It warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

Re:Is CmdrTaco a Pedophile? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231664)

If you're going to make an allegation, make an allegation,

I allege that you are a man who wears women's undergarments.

The Surface has revenue to shuffle? (1)

sarkeizen (106737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231412)

Or is that just to say that the XBox has been hiding it's losses for a while now.

Re:The Surface has revenue to shuffle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231920)

No, once the Xbox was making money, they used that money to hide Windows's losses.

Investors expect Xbox to lose money; they're used to it. If Windows starts losing money they'll freak the hell out.

Re:The Surface has revenue to shuffle? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232060)

Investors expect Xbox to lose money; they're used to it. If Windows starts losing money they'll freak the hell out.

Investors expect Xbox to lose money initially. They expect any product to become profitable eventually. Seven years of losses is a bit too much for investors to take, and it hasn't quite broken even yet even though the Mac Office was being used to soften the losses. As an investor, I'd want to know when the product will be profitable overall. Also what the heck happened to the mobile unit? The Kin was a disaster and WP7, while it looks good, will be operating at a loss while it launches.

Re:The Surface has revenue to shuffle? (0)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232714)

How does WP7 look good? Besides the huge amount that Microsoft has dumped in marketing it really is a half baked OS at launch.
It lacks multitasking, cut and paste, and even custom ringtones. You then have the problems with microUSB support and throw in that it is launching on AT&T where it will go head to head with the iPhone in the US and it is just a mess.
That and the phones real strengths seem to be totally missing form the advertising. ZunePass and NetFlix would seem to me to be the killer apps.
At best this has been a good press launch but I do not know a single person lusting after a WP7 right now. I would be a little tempted if it was on Sprint but even then I would probably endup with the Evo.
You can not go head to head with a mature iPhone with a half baked Mobile platform. Oh and it isn't like this is Microsofts first mobile platform. They do not call it Windows Phone 7 for nothing.

I just want to know what revenue they are getting from Surface?

Re:The Surface has revenue to shuffle? (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232954)

How does WP7 look good? Besides the huge amount that Microsoft has dumped in marketing it really is a half baked OS at launch.

I mean it wasn't a buggy, half complete mess of a product that some of their products have been. For example the Kin. It was a "social" phone without many social features. It crashed a lot. The advertised features didn't work right. While the WP7 lacks the maturity of the iPhone, Android, even WebOS, it is at least usable. Many of their version 1.0 products can't say the same. It will take time for WP7 to catch up, but it's a decent start.

Did Microsoft Alter Windows Sales Figures? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231500)

Does the pope shit in the woods?

Replace "did" with "does"... And replace "Microsoft" with *

Oh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34231594)

In other news, real statistics collected from browsers used by US residents visiting various minor and major websites, the market share looks like this:

Windows XP -- 36.98%
Windows 7 -- 23.25%
Windows Vista -- 23.01%

Considering that Windows 7 is one year old now, it is incredibly impressive to see its one-quarter market share. If you say it is made up, you are simply mistaken or a troll. Windows XP with its one third looks just pathetic now.

Source: http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-US-monthly-201010-201011-bar [statcounter.com]

Re:Oh, yeah (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231784)

What do you mean XP looks pathetic?

BTW, I think the XP number is a bit low. There are millions of XP machines out there that never browse the internet. They are quietly running kiosks, embedded in industrial machinery, or executing tasks on corporate LANs. There isn't much reason to move these systems off of XP (that is until some genius plugs an ethernet cable into them).

Re:Oh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232010)

Lol! And you XP fanboi idiots are even MORE pathetic than XP. Only Windows 2000 fanbois beat you. Hopefully, there are no Windows 98 fanbois by now...

Re:Oh, yeah (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232314)

Fanboi? That's funny.

No, I wondered what the OP thought was pathetic about XP? Is it the OS itself? Is it pathetic that it is still in use? I really don't get it.

At this point, aren't all operating systems more or less equivalent? There are compelling applications out there that might lead one to need a particular OS, but the operating system by itself isn't very interesting.

Re:Oh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232026)

So Windows is down to 83 percent of the market already? The collapse is happening faster than I thought.

But I think your argument is as problematic as your numbers.

To wit: 36.98 percent is 11 percent larger than one-third; 23.25 percent is 8 percent smaller than one-quarter. These are not insignificant differences.

You're being misleading enough with your numbers that I think you may actually be a Microsoft accountant.

A few questions (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232198)

The real question is who has the remaining 16.76% of the market? How much did they have one year ago? I remember when, not so long ago, Microsoft had about 95% of the desktop market.

Frankly, considering this trend, I would think twice before investing in Microsoft stock these days.

Re:A few questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34233446)

OS X has had about 13% for two years now. In the US, that is. Sleep on.

IT anti-monopolies coordination central? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231624)

The only way to combat monopolies is either government legislation, or strong, close coordination among multiple parties who share an opinion. No more-powerful-entity (government) combat, no public coordination, so the emperor's elite guard still holds the fort. Microsoft has created for itself plenty of enemies, but nobody seems to be able to agree on doing anything effective. I can understand a million independent programmers having trouble agreeing, but I really don't understand how or why Apple, Oracle, IBM, HP, Dell, etc haven't been able to coordinate and come up even with more reasonably competitive monopoly-breaking products which is in their strong interest.

Re:IT anti-monopolies coordination central? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232430)

The only way to combat monopolies...

Well, who says we need to combat them? We can just ignore them. Sure, that won't make them go away, but who cares?

Speculates (2)

jamesl (106902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231782)

InformationWeek speculates that ...

Another word for "speculate" is "guess." A news organization should do neither.

And then Monkey Boy sells his stock (4, Interesting)

bdsesq (515351) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231816)

So the company lies/misstates/whatever to make the core businesses look better and prop up the stock.
And the, by some coincidence, monkey boy sells a billion or two of stock.

Move along. Nothing to see here.........

Naked PCs and/or reversion rights... (0)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232014)

this is why I hate not being able to just walk into a high street shop and buy a computer pre-loaded with Linux or with no OS pre-loaded at all...

far too many sales that end up with the OS being wiped to replace with Linux or else reversion rights being exercised to install XP are being counted as Windows 7 sales...

Re:Naked PCs and/or reversion rights... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233520)

While you are probably right in the sense that these numbers are being miscounted, I don't think many sales are being made of pre-loaded computers where the end user is removing Windows 7.

Sure, there are some people who move to Linux, but really, is it that large a number? In the geek market, maybe, but geeks either know how to build machines themselves or know how to get around preloading. And many times, they just get used equipment that can't run Windows well, but runs Linux just fine. As for everyone else, they want consumer computing either for small business, e-mail, web browsing or gaming. There's no good reason to go to Linux for any of those things and some very good reasons not to.

As for reversions, I think that would have been more of a substantial figure for Vista than Windows 7. Certainly, I don't see this being a big factor at all in the Consumer market. For the business market, reversion to XP still might be an issue, but I know for my part that while I have never seen a business machine with Vista on it, I have not seen anyone removing Windows 7 for XP on their new machines. Windows 7 provides the XP mode VM which seems to work just fine for anything I would have needed XP for.

Share price ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34232080)

I always thought that Microsoft's monopolies subsidized their other businesses. They must need to boost their share price for some reason . Wait !! Isn't Monkey Boy selling off a billion or so of his stock ???

Commerce is deceit (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232556)

When will people realize that corporate commerce is based on deceit. Who the hell is surprised that MS is cooking the books?

news or not? (1)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34232966)

I am not exactly sure of the point of this article. IMHO financial accounting is an art and it is more about company appearance and image than concise financial reporting. IRS and accounting rules allow companies to manipulate the data to "hide" details that would otherwise disclose details about proprietary internal operations. If you look closely, you can usually find accounting trickery. This does not make the company "evil" or dishonest, it just allows them to both present honest financial information to share holders without disclosing proprietary information to competitors.

The important information to determine from publicly released financial data is 1) did the company increase revenues? 2) did they really turn a profit from revenue and costs, or is there unsustainable write offs involved, and 3) is the increase of revenue from growth or from accounting trickery. I am not sure it really matters if Microsoft is moving revenue around to bolster their windows sales figures, the question is sustainability.

XP "Downgrade" (1)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34233292)

Of course the numbers are fake. Every computer sold today with XP on it counts as a Windows 7 sale, the "downgrade" is a BTO option.

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